Strategic Niche Management in an unstable regime: Biomass gasification in India

Geert Verbong, Willem Christiaens, Rob Raven, Annelies Balkema

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This paper analyses the development and implementation of biomass gasifiers in India. Based on literature reviews and fieldwork, an historical narrative is presented starting with laboratory experiments in the 1980s up to commercial applications after 2000. This narrative is analysed using the Strategic Niche Management framework. We conclude with the benefit of hindsight that technological expectations where generally too high. The biomass gasification technology is not easy to design and operate and needs to be embedded in a stable institutional set up to allow learning, knowledge transfer, regulation and funding. We also conclude that, in contrast with theoretical predictions, up-scaling the niche suffers from regime instability rather than regime stability, as there is a need to give more security to investors and end-users. For instance through setting clear and long-term condition for grid-connected biomass gasification systems and feed-in schemes. Up-scaling through local off-grid applications where enough technical competence is available is the most likely trend in the near future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-281
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomass gasification
  • India
  • Strategic Niche Management

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